Recent events have been challenging for all business sectors, but sales and marketing teams have been among the hardest hit.
With marketing budgets tightening in light of the disruption caused by the pandemic and national lockdowns forcing audiences to spend less time in office, sales and marketing teams have been forced to adapt quickly.
Many B2B businesses were agile enough to adopt new strategies that enabled them to continue to make sales and meet their marketing goals amidst the challenging circumstances.
The question is—which of these adaptations are going to stick around as we leave the pandemic behind and move forward?
One of the biggest sales and marketing adaptations we’ve seen over the last year has been the shift towards remote work. In light of the pandemic, many sales teams had to pause their field operations in order to meet social distancing guidelines.
The shift hit some organizations hard, but many proved nimble enough to adapt and quickly transition to remote work instead. The effort was well worth it as 64% of sales leaders who pivoted to a remote work model were able to meet or exceed their sales target in 2020.
As a result of this success, we expect to see more companies continuing to invest in remote enablement in 2021. In fact, Hubspot suggests that 11% of sales leaders plan to go fully remote this year, and a further 57% plan to implement a hybrid sales model.
If you’ve not already embraced the work-from-home model, now may be the time to start. Enabling your team to work from home is a way to future-proof your operations and safeguard against any future disruptions similar to what we’ve seen this last year.
Another significant inbound marketing adaptation we expect to stick around in 2021 is the increased adoption of marketing automation. Marketing automation and AI-powered marketing technology have seen an upwards trajectory in usage over the last few years, but the events of 2020 only accelerated that adoption. More CMOs than ever before are increasing their investment in marketing automation technology in order to improve operational efficiency and generate more digital engagement at a lower cost.
This is especially important given that many businesses have experienced a decline in profit in 2020, leading to tighter budgets. Marketing and sales teams have to squeeze more value out of their budget by tightening up operations and reducing costs where they can, and embracing marketing automation is a great way to do that.
Chatbots are a specific type of marketing technology built to assist with your inbound marketing efforts. They’re the virtual, AI-powered assistants that pop up on your websites to answer your customers’ queries and requests. As the pandemic saw more people than ever before staying and working from home, chatbots saw a surge in usage.
Sales and marketing teams can use chatbots to field their customer interactions for them and handle basic queries, freeing up your team’s time so that they can spend more time communicating with qualified leads that they actually need to speak to.
One clear consumer trend we saw during 2020 was a surge in usage of social media. National lockdowns meant people were unable to socialize with each other in-person, and so they turned to social platforms instead.
Time spent on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn shot up dramatically. And as customers spent more time on social media, advertisers spent more dollars trying to reach them through social media marketing campaigns.
We expect this upwards trajectory in investment in social marketing to continue in 2021 as brands seek to capitalize on the increased reach and leverage the human-connection created by social media.
The events of the past year ignited many fires in the world of politics. From protests to pandemics and the election that took the world by storm, people flocked to social media to have their say. 2020 was a year of standing up for what you believe in and expecting the same from the companies and brands where you spend your money.
It became much more important for audiences to know what type of companies they were buying from and how they responded to certain issues, and this became a big focus for many marketers.
Big brands like Chanel and Hilton were quick to make a switch to value-based marketing methods. Every company wanted to have its say on current issues, encourage people to vote, and pledge to help in the fight against the virus.
This trend is set to continue throughout 2021 with more brands seeking approval from their audience based on moralistic values. If you want to stay at the top of your marketing game, don’t stick your head in the sand. Audiences are keen to know what your company stands for and what sort of ethics your business aligns with.
2020 was the year of Zoom meetings in your pants and meeting up with your co-workers on Slack, and it looks like this style of work isn’t going anywhere fast. With many people forced to work from home and everyone else social distancing, the only real option was to conduct all meetings online.
Whether it’s digital board meetings, daily briefings, or sales meetings with potential clients or customers, people are becoming more accustomed to doing things in person, rather than face-to-face.
Not only do people want to keep their distance from others in the current climate, but necessity drove many businesses to realize how cost-effective and convenient hosting meetings, webinars, and other sales-related tasks online could be. And not only that, but many customers and potential leads also prefer interacting with sales reps in the digital realm, rather than meeting up face to face.
According to a statistic posted by live chat provider Kayako, almost half of all customers prefer live chat to any other form of contact, which is a great thing for sales reps. No more spending long hours commuting to meetings, or high costs for business trip expenses. Do it all online and save time, money, and hassle for your customers and clients.
One of the biggest lessons learned as a result of the pandemic is the need for greater business agility and resilience to disruptions. As a result of this, many companies are now looking to outsource their marketing operations.
In fact, according to recent research, 32% of businesses are now looking to outsource their marketing departments, and the market for outsourced marketing is expected to triple over the next few years.
The reason that so many companies are turning to outsourced marketing operations in an effort to become more agile is that outsourcing allows businesses to scale upwards or downwards if needed, without having to expand or downsize their in-house team.
Companies like Abstrakt Marketing Group provide complete marketing solutions and offer businesses a cost-effective way to get accurate and consistent marketing and lead generation.
As we’ve seen, 2021 is shaping up to be a year of growth for sales and marketing teams. If you want to keep pace with your competitors, you need to be willing to adapt and embrace changes like these.
If you aren’t sure where to start, Abstrakt can take care of it for you. Get in touch with our team to talk about your business growth goals and how our B2B lead generation services can help you achieve them.